It is Not Your Fault that the Plants Died Shortly, But You Could Give them a Better Chance of Survival

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the survival and thrival of newly transplanted plants in landscaping industry. The most common reason is soil moisture: either not enough (underwatering) or too much (overwatering). Landscape architects are typically are not the parties to blame if a proper maintenance instruction have been included. Landscape contractors, who are typically only awarded a short maintenance contract, are not the party responsible neither. Vast majority of the failure cases are due to the lack of recognition that plants, especially larger woody plants (trees and shrubs) require much longer time to get established.  

As a landscape architect and landscape contractors, you can get away with a disclaimer. But it doesn’t mean your project will look good. Is there anything the landscape architects and landscape contractors can do to give the plants a better chance to survive? 

By examining the situation and looking at the root of the problem, the real limitation is in the Plant Available Water (PAW). No matter how much one irrigate the soil or how much rainwater falls on to it, any water above the Field Capacity is wasted. Conventionally, you can’t increase the FC freely, as it is defined by the texture of the soil. Among different soils, clay and sandy soils are the worst in terms providing PAW for plants. This talk will review some technologies for stabilizing soil moisture, including methods that significantly boost the PAW without drowning the plant roots. We also review methods and technologies that make the best usage of natural precipitation (stormwater). Case studies across the North America will be used to illustrate on how these methods can significantly reduce the need of maintenance, and therefore the reliance of landscape contractors to keep the plants alive.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the environmental and societal benefits of green infrastructure and urban forestry.
  2. Study the main technical challenges encountered in green infrastructure, urban forestry, and the landscaping industry.

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